Observing the Quality of Moments in Time
In my recent post on kronos vs kairos time, I mentioned that one way of defining astrology is as a system that enables us to tune in to the quality or flavor of a given moment in time. In fact, we might say this is the supreme value of astrology: it gives us a language for making meaning out of what is happening to us. (Or what is happening within us.)
As I was meditating on this, I drifted off into a parallel universe not too far from this one. In this universe, all university students take at least one year of basic astrology courses to satisfy the core emotional intelligence requirements all students must pass in order to graduate.
I was trying to explain this concept to Abi. She’s one of my brightest students, but she has grown increasingly frustrated with her progress. She confronted me after class with a question that bedevils many a bright beginner-to-intermediate astrology student. Here’s how our conversation went:
ABI: I feel like I know a lot about astrology. I know what the planets mean, I’m familiar with the signs, I know my basic aspects, etc. So I’ve got all these pieces, but when it comes to making a coherent, meaningful interpretation…(sigh)…I just can’t seem to put it all together. (Her voice trails off; she has a faraway look in her eyes.)
(The character of Abi (Astrologer-Beginning-Intermediate) is purely fictional in this universe and the chart was plucked out of the ethers with no intended resemblance to any person I know.)
DK: Here’s how you put it all together:
1. By noticing the quality of energy within yourself and in the world around you at certain moments; and then
2. Correlating your observed or felt experience with the astrological chart(s).
ABI: (Accusingly) OK, you make it sound really easy. “Notice the energy at certain moments.” Which moments should I notice? And: “correlating my experience with the astrological chart(s).” Which charts? The chart for today? The chart for the Full Moon? My chart?
DK: Let’s break it down. First, you learn astrology by noticing the quality of energy of a given moment and correlating it to what is happening in the chart.
So, the moments you notice are the moments you notice. Simple as that.
ABI: I’m going to punch that little smile off your face if you keep spouting off zen riddles instead of teaching me astrology!
DK: You would do well to respect your elders, young Abi. The Saturn principle. But, seriously, I spouted a real truth spun up as zen trickery and you just got mad and threatened to hit me. I think we may have experienced a moment in time there.
ABI: (Looks suspicious but intrigued)
DK: We are operating on the premise that astrology is a sort of quantum mechanical clock that describes the flavor of moments in time. In a given moment that we notice, the chart for that moment will highlight certain archetypal values that help us make meaning from our experience.
So in our case, which archetypal values would we be looking to correlate?
ABI: Well, I got mad. And you were being…a Trickster. But also a Teacher, I guess.
DK: OK. A sudden flare up of energy. The Trickster. Teaching is happening. Learning is happening. Let’s take those one by one.
“Sudden flare-up of energy” or “I got mad”: are we going to look for that in your chart or mine?
ABI: Mine. But…
DK: And where else are we going to look? Is there another chart we might want to look at?
ABI: The chart for right now?
DK: See, it’s so simple!
ABI: I can still punch you!
DK: You’re right – simple and easy are not the same thing. Where are we going to look for the Trickster?
ABI: Your chart?
DK: My chart would show the Trickster archetype, sure. If I didn’t have that potential in my birth chart, I couldn’t very well bring the Trickster archetype into the world.
ABI: Wait, no, I get it! The Trickster archetype would also show up in my chart, as someone I’m interacting with at this moment. Like, maybe Mercury is in my 7th House.
DK: You’re well on your way to becoming an astrology rock star. Yes, that’s the crazy thing about astrology. Your chart describes your entire Universe, at least in potential form. Mercury in astrology is one archetype that can symbolize the Trickster. And the 7th House is one of the key places where we find “other people” in our charts. So we’re definitely going to look and see if either the current chart is hitting your Mercury right now and/or if there’s something being activated in your 7th House.
How about the sudden outburst of anger or irritation?
ABI: Anger is Mars, so something in today’s chart is triggering my Mars?
DK: That’s definitely the first place I would look. But how else might we categorize a sudden flare-up? Say, elementally: would that be more likely to show up as Fire, Earth, Air or Water?
ABI: I’d say Fire.
DK: I would too. Let’s look at the Fire signs in today’s chart and let’s look at the Fire signs in your chart. And let’s see if we can make any correlations that seem useful.
ABI: There’s a Full Moon in Sagittarius today! A fire sign.
DK: So Fire potential is very high today. But Sagittarius is also about…
ABI: Higher wisdom. Metaphysical systems. Such as learning astrology. Or a teacher, right?
DK: Great! And Gemini, where the Sun is at the Full Moon, is about…
ABI: Communicating, talking, also teaching – but more informally, maybe…
DK: Good. Where does today’s Full Moon land in your chart?
ABI: (Glances up and flicks eyelids to access astro-calendar app on her nano-screen.) Well, the Full Moon is at 18 degrees of Sagittarius and 53 arc minutes. My first house cusp is at 16 Sag. So, in my 1st House. And right on my Ascendant.
DK: What are the archetypal meanings of 1st House and Ascendant?
ABI: Me, my identity, my personality, who I am in the world?
DK: Right. And a Fire sign Full Moon is likely to…
ABI: Flare up my energy or emotions!
DK: Justify your answer, please.
ABI: Fire sign: passion, enthusiasm, spirited. Moon is emotions, so the Sag Full Moon is going to bring emotions to the surface. My emotions, especially about myself, because it’s in the 1st House.
DK: Excellent. And, a Full Moon closely conjunct your Sagittarius Ascendant is likely to result in:
ABI: (Giggles, then sighs) Triggering my Sag mouth. Me blurting out whatever’s in my head before I can stop it.
DK: Where would we be without the blunt honesty of Sagittarians? You’re doing great! Next question:
The Sun brings focus to whatever sign and house it is transiting in your chart as it moves around the zodiac. Right now, at this Full Moon, the Sun is bringing focus to…
ABI: 7th House – my relationships, other people. Gemini – communication, thinking, writing, teaching?
DK: I see a gold star in your future! We still haven’t found the Trickster, though. Let’s look at your natal chart. Hmmm…which planet rules Gemini, where the Sun is bringing the focus and energy that are being reflected and amplified by the Full Moon in your house of self?
ABI: Mercury! The Trickster! And I have Mars and Mercury conjunct in my natal 7th House! No wonder I always feel like punching someone!
DK: Yes, and look at the degree of the Full Moon and the degrees of your natal Mars and Mercury.
ABI: The Moon is about to make an exact hit on my Mars. And since we give the Moon an aspect orb of up to 10 degrees, it’s conjunct my Mercury too.
DK: Excellent! So what have learned today, do you think?
ABI: That maybe I should pay attention to when a planet is hitting that point in my chart?
DK: Right. Because in your natal chart, you have a heightened potential for…
ABI: Relating to Tricksters?
DK: Yep. Mercury in the 7th House. What else?
ABI: Attracting angry conversations? Mars and Mercury conjunct in my 7th.
DK: Good. And we could also say: “Driven (Mars) to learn (Mercury) about what piques your curiosity (Gemini)” … or “Motivated (Mars) to communicate (Mercury) with interesting people (Gemini, 7th House).”
Now that you’re more aware of this pattern, how can you use your astrological acumen going forward? What can you do with this knowledge?
ABI: Hmmm…Well, I’ll definitely pay more attention to the month of June, when the Sun is in this part of my chart. And I guess I should notice the days when the Moon is in these degrees of Gemini or Sagittarius, huh? Because those are probably the days when everyone irritates me to the point I blurt out something that hurts someone’s feelings and then I have to spend the next two days feeling guilty and apologizing…
DK: Anything else you can think of, or is that enough for today?
ABI: One last question – how fast does the Moon move through the zodiac?
DK: About 13 degrees per day, or roughly about one degree every two hours.
ABI: The Full Moon was at just about 19 degrees of Sagittarius, the exact Full Moon was at 9 am this morning. Right now, it’s 10:53 am. Which means…(Abi scowls menacingly) You tell me what me what it means, Mr. Trickster Interesting Astrology Teacher….
DK: I’d better get out of here quick before I get punched!
ABI: You’re a quick study for an old teacher, Mister DK.
DK: (Over shoulder as he walks out of the classroom) “Bye, Abi!”